Oklahoma uses late surge to end Dayton's NCAA tournament run
At some point, ignoring the flashing "Empty" light on the dashboard was going to come back to bite Dayton. After all, you can only go for so long before running out of gas, right?
Dayton began the week in Brooklyn, losing to VCU in the Atlantic 10 championship game. That earned the Flyers a spot in the First Four 48 hours later—fortunately on their home floor—against Boise State. A win there allowed them to travel an hour west down I-70 to Columbus, again, 48 hours later. Then it was a tip-time against sixth-seeded Providence at nearly 11 p.m. ET and a win that wrapped up well after 1 a.m.
That set them up against third-seeded Oklahoma for a chance at a second straight Sweet 16. And that is where the miracle flight ended for the Flyers, in a 72-66 loss. But Dayton didn't go down without one last push for another miracle march.
The Flyers took a seven-point lead with just over 10 minutes to play, looking to create even more chaos in the East region. No. 1 Villanova and No. 2 Virginia had already been bounced, and Dayton coach Archie Miller had his eyes on No. 3 Oklahoma.
But once Dayton went up seven, the tank was officially empty.
Beginning at the 9:14 mark, Oklahoma flipped the game in its favor. The Sooners rattled off a 21-10 run to close out the matchup—a margin only made closer because of two last-ditch shots in the final 25 seconds by the Flyers. Oklahoma guard Jordan Woodard led the way with 16 points and added four steals on the defensive end. Star guard Buddy Hield pitched in with 15 points, including a crucial block with 62 seconds left after Oklahoma turned it over with Dayton down by four points.
Dayton, despite four players scoring in double-figures—led by Scoochie Smith's 16—couldn't muster the energy needed to complete a comeback.
After six games, three cities and 240 minutes of basketball in nine days, Dayton simply couldn't go any further. It had ignored the warning light long enough.